Press conference on working measures and effect of people's courts in the new era

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Chen Wenjun:

Thank you. Now the floor is open to questions. Please identify the media outlet you represent before raising questions.

Economic Daily:

My questions are about foreign investment. Over the past decade, tremendous changes have taken place in China's foreign investment management system, providing institutional support for better building a high-level open economy. What has the SPC done in handling the disputes involving foreign-invested companies, and what has been achieved? What are the goals and directions for the work in the future? Thank you.

Tao Kaiyuan:

Thank you for your questions. Since I am in charge of foreign-related commercial and maritime trials, I am glad to take your questions, which I think are very specific. Over the past decade, the people's courts have resolutely implemented the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and actively supported high-level opening up. By handling disputes involving foreign-invested companies fairly and efficiently based on the Foreign Investment Law, we have protected the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and foreign investors equally in accordance with the law and continuously improve the law-based and international business environment. I would like to brief you on the work in four aspects.

First, we have participated in and promoted the formation of an institutional system for foreign investment in the new era. You mentioned in your questions that some historical changes have occurred in the foreign investment management system. What are they? Simply put, we have changed from the previous system of examination, approval, and record filing to a system of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list. It is a significant change. Under such circumstances, the SPC promptly formulated and amended supporting judicial interpretations and implemented them simultaneously with the new Foreign Investment Law to maintain the validity of investment contracts that do not fall into the negative list. Investment contracts are valid if they do not fall into the negative list. We have facilitated trials involving foreign-invested companies into a new stage where they are conducted in accordance with the system underpinned by law, a regulations document, and two interpretations documents. In simple words, they are the Foreign Investment Law and regulations on its implementation, as well as judicial interpretations on the trial of cases on disputes involving foreign-invested companies and judicial interpretations that apply to the Foreign Investment Law to support it. Thus, we have formed the system, which is one aspect of our work.

Second, we have constructed a specialized adjudication architecture for all cases of disputes involving foreign-invested companies. The SPC issued a notice in 2017 on level-specific jurisdiction standards and unified handling of foreign-related civil and commercial cases of the first instance, requiring that disputes concerning the establishment, investment, and confirmation of shareholder qualifications of foreign-invested companies all be heard in foreign-related courts, thus forming a specialized adjudication architecture for such disputes. The minutes formed after a national conference on foreign-related commercial and maritime adjudication of courts held by the SPC in Nanjing last June clarified such disputes and unified the application of the law. At the same time, the minutes also made provisions for simplifying the procedures of entrustment of foreign parties and notarization and certification of extraterritorial evidence to facilitate their participation in litigation.

Third, we have made China's contribution to improving the whole international commercial transaction rules. Our efforts were mainly as follows: To hear cases fairly and efficiently during the COVID-19 outbreak, the SPC issued four guidelines on the trial of civil cases related to COVID-19, the third of which is specifically related to the trial of foreign-related commercial and maritime cases. It received great attention from the U.N. after being released, and the U.N. General Assembly reached a special resolution to include the guidelines in the system of Case Law on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Texts, a commendable achievement for us.

Fourth, we have launched a package to ensure that investment liberalization and facilitation principles are implemented in detail. The package includes: First, the SPC issued the guiding opinions on people's courts providing services to guarantee further opening-up. The SPC and the NDRC jointly issued the opinions on providing judicial services and safeguards to accelerate the improvement of the socialist market economy in the new era. Second, the SPC carried out special surveys on serving the building of free trade pilot zones, the Hainan free trade port, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and Beijing's "two zones" (the Integrated National Demonstration Zone for Opening Up the Services Sector and the Beijing Pilot Free Trade Zone), and issued guiding opinions respectively. Some media friends here may have attended relevant press conferences and learned about the situation. We have publicized relevant typical cases, and worked to strengthen the protection of foreign-invested enterprises and promote cross-border investment. Third, local courts have heard several representative cases of disputes involving foreign-invested enterprises in accordance with the law, such as the shareholder qualification confirmation cases of Shanghai New Star Imp. & Exp. Inc. and Rugao Jinding Real Estate Co., Ltd. If interested, you can visit the SPC website to check the relevant cases. While handling these cases, we strictly followed the provisions of the Foreign Investment Law and its judicial interpretations, and implemented the pre-entry national treatment plus negative list system, in an effort to effectively protect foreign-invested enterprises' market expectations.

Next, the people's courts will act on the new development stage, fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy, and actively serve and be integrated into the new development pattern. We will focus on building a new higher-level opening-up economic system, effectively improve the quality and efficiency of foreign-related justice, and contribute more to promoting the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment. Thank you.

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